Be judicious in use of the word, "victim"
John Stossel’s Oct. 2, column, “We Americans really need to stop playing the victim,” really missed the mark.
First, the impact of using the word "victim" for persons with disabilities is offensive on so many levels. We are not victims. We are people with a life experience whose challenges have more to do with society’s perceptions and acceptance.
Employment is one of those challenges. The unemployment rate for persons with disabilities is significantly higher than for those without disabilities. People with disabilities do want to work, but many times, the barriers are more employers’ fears. Title I of the American Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that a person must be qualified and able to perform all the tasks required of the job. Reasonable accommodations are put in place so that the employee with a disability can do the job on par with employees that do not have a disability. It does not mean “special;” it means “equal.”
There was also an implication of Social Security fraud. People with headaches and back pain do not qualify Supplemental Security Income] or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. The statement was highly inflammatory. People who apply for benefits in general would rather be working.
Finally, with improved medicine, we have more people surviving with disabilities, not less. War veterans with disabilities are adding to the numbers of our total population of people with disabilities. "Victim" is not the word we should be using. Words like empowerment and civil rights for people with disabilities are what we should be talking about.
John Stossel is determined to undermine the intent and spirit of the ADA in a world that is embracing diversity and which includes people with disabilities.
The writer is director of Programs and Services for Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley.
Focus more on debt crisis that really hurts
At first glance page C-5 of the Oct. 10 Gazette suggested that the editors had come to their senses. I saw what appeared to be a response to the Op-ed piece by Susan Estrich, “Tea Party doesn’t care.”
In the editorial, “Unaddressed debt crisis,” I hoped The Gazette had finally come out against U.S. deficit spending. I was disappointed to realize that, like Estrich, The Gazette is more concerned about $1.2 trillion in student debt than it is in $18 trillion in national debt. The editor must assume that the interest on $1.2 trillion in private debt has a greater impact on the economy than $18 trillion in public debt.
The entire student loan concept is flawed. An individual with the judgement and math skills to choose to incur tens of thousands of dollars in debt which requires a payment of $500 per month and invest four years of their lives, in order to get a position which pays $10.50 per hour ($22,000 per year) should not be admitted to high school, much less a college or university. The person is, however, qualified for election to the U.S. House of Representatives. Both Reps. Tonko and Gibson have voted to extend the debt ceiling beyond what we can ever repay several times.
The Tea Party is regarded as obstructionist for insisting that our government cease deficit spending. I believe achieving a balanced budget is “getting things done.” The House can pass a budget which directs the payments on our debt first and then allocates the remainder to the absolutely basic functions of the federal government; the federal police powers (less IRS and ATF), the basic functions of the courts and the common defense of the territorial United States, the Department of Education (Common Core), Obamacare and two-thirds of the federal agencies do nothing to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”
An austerity budget I submit is not a “shut-down” of the government. If the Democrats in the Senate and/or the Democrat in the White House choose to filibuster and/or veto, the budget the decision to “shut down” the government will be theirs.
Donation articles a contrast in generosity
The front page of the Oct. 10 Gazette reports two acts of apparent philanthropy. At the very top sits a photo of Joe Bruno with the caption “Bruno donating $1.4M to state Senate GOP,” while just below Dr. Govind Rao and his wife Jyothi are shown smiling at the dedication of the new Rao Outpatient Pavilion of St. Mary’s Healthcare in Amsterdam.
While Bruno’s donation came from campaign accounts, i.e., other people’s money, the Roa’s donation of $1 million came from their personal account, money they earned over 40 years of dedicated medical service to countless individuals, mostly children, many underprivileged, and many without regard for their ability to pay.
Joe Bruno got a stadium in Troy named after him for directing public money to the project. Naming of the Pavilion for Dr. Rao and his family acknowledged not only their personal financial donation to St. Mary’s, but their long standing commitment to caring for anyone in need in the Amsterdam area.
Mr. Bruno rationalizes his donation to the GOP saying “maintaining majority in Senate is more important than ever.” Dr. Rao thinks people’s health is important. He lives by words of his father: “Work hard, be sincere, and be simple.”
The juxtaposition of Bruno and Rao makes one shake their head and smile. The contrast could not be more stark.
Think Rotterdam is bad? Try Amsterdam
Replying to the Oct. 11 letter from Mr. William Brown of Rotterdam who complained that "Rotterdam not such a nice place to live anymore.”
My reply is — Mr. Brown, move to and live in Amsterdam for one year. You will be more than happy to move back to Rotterdam, I can assure you. Amsterdam has hundreds of abandoned and boarded up buildings and houses. Not a pretty place to be.
Conservatives not short on hypocrisy
Where have all the Republicans gone? Gone to conservatives everyone.
I love conservatives. Conservatives know not only the will of the American people, but also, more importantly, the will of God.
Conservatives rail against same-sex marriage and staunchly defend traditional marriage, but have no problem committing adultery. Need I make a list?
Conservatives adamantly oppose the killing of unborn babies, but are not the least bit troubled by the deaths of thousands of post-birth babies caused by the deceitful unwarranted Bush/Cheney invasion of Iraq.
If dead Iraqi children are considered collateral damage, can unborn babies be regarded as only lumps of fetal tissue?
Conservatives view themselves as the champions of liberty and freedom, but would compel the victim of the “legitimate” rape to carry a rapist’s chid to term. No exceptions, right tough guys?
Conservatives value guns more than the lives of the people killed by perpetrators using guns. Conservatives cannot logically connect the name of Muhammad Mossadegh to Iran’s determination to develop nuclear weapons.
Conservatives hate Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam, but never met a brutal right-wing U.S. puppet dictator they didn’t like. Need I make a list?
Conservatives are absolutely certain that conservatism is the only valid system of governance and that Christianity is the world’s only legitimate religion.
And finally, conservatives, as I am, are still waiting for Sean Hannity to undergo water-boarding. I hope conservatives never go away. The hypocrisy and entertainment is priceless.
Yepsen a champion for Spa quality of life
Having served on committees for Saratoga Peace Week, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and as a volunteer helping homeless veterans, I have come to know first-hand the long and continuing commitment that Joanne Yepsen has personally contributed to these initiatives and similar others to assure that our community’s high ideals and respect for the needy get the support they duly deserve.
Mayor Yepsen’s efforts to protect our green belt and her opposing the imposition of live casino gambling in our town has made her a champion of quality-of-life for the citizens of Saratoga. For me and many others, Joanne represents the best of human traits, a big heart and compassion for others.
Because of her and many other devoted volunteers in our community, I propose that we add to Saratoga’s logo of “Health, History and Horses,” another “H” standing for "heart or humanity." Carry on Mayor Yepsen.
The writer is a member of Saratoga Peace Alliance.